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Published In: European and N. American Bryineae (Mosses) 1: 15. 1897. (Eur. N. Amer. Bryin.) Name publication detail

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The Pterobryaceae are a tropical family of 25 genera (Buck & Goffinet 2000; Goffinet & Buck 2004). Many of its genera have only a few species, and generic boundaries within the family are often weakly defined. The Pterobryaceae are frequently medium-sized to large plants with creeping primary stems and erect (sometimes pendent), irregularly spaced, at times stipitate, secondary stems. The sec-ondary stems can be pinnately or bipinnately branched. Allen (1987f) found distinctive filamentous pseudoparaphyllia in all members of the family. Other consistent features of the family include stems without central strands, capsules that lack stomata, rudimentary annuli, and irregularly formed peri-stomes with well-developed prostomes but greatly reduced endostomes.

Leaves within the Pterobryaceae are often differentiated into four kinds (primary stem, stipe, sec-ondary stem, and branch), and they are sometimes clearly arranged in spiral rows. The leaf cells are typically elongate-flexuose, firm-walled, and porose. Alar cells are often well developed. Most mem-bers of the Pterobryaceae are dioicous, and sporophytes are not common within the family. Ptero-bryaceae capsules are erect, but capsule shape is extremely variable, and the setae can be long or short. In some large genera some species have immersed capsules, while others have exserted cap-sules. The spores are often large in size. The calyptrae are typically cucullate; however, mitrate ca-lyptrae also occur, and sometimes both types can be found in the same genus. Many members of the family reproduce asexually by hyaline, uniseriate, septate gemmae that arise from large, circular clus-ters of initials in leaf axils or from deciduous branch leaves.

Arzeni (1954) treated the family in Central America and the West Indies, while Argent (1973a, b) revised the African species of Pterobryaceae. Magill (1983) provided a circumscription of the family, and he surveyed the odd peristome types found in the Pterobryaceae.


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Plants slender, medium-sized, or robust in loose or dense mats, at times pendent, or frondose. Pri-mary stems creeping, with erect to imbricate, distantly spaced leaves; secondary stems irregularly spaced, erect or pendent, stipitate or not stipitate, pinnately to bipinnately branched or not to occa-sionally branched, branches at times becoming flagellate, or transformed into stoloniferous stems; stems in cross section with sclerodermis, cortical cells enlarged, firm-walled, central strand absent; paraphyllia absent; pseudoparaphyllia filamentous; rhizoids red brown, roughened or papillose, not or irregularly branched, from clusters of initials at abaxial side of primary stem leaf insertions, and leaves on attenuate branch tips, and at base of stipes. Secondary stem leaves spirally ranked or not, erect-spreading, imbricate, wide-spreading, squarrose, or complanate, smooth, lightly undulate, rugose, or plicate, acute or acuminate, concave or plane, rounded to the insertion, cordate or auri-culate, variously decurrent; margins entire, serrulate, papillose-serrulate, or denticulate, plane or revolute; costae double or single, rarely absent; cells linear to linear-flexuose, variously porose, smooth, pro, uni- or pluripapillose, firm-walled, cells across the insertion yellowish, porose; alar cells weakly or strongly developed. Asexual reproduction by hyaline, smooth, uniseriate, septate gemmae arising from large, circular clusters of initials in leaf axils or deciduous branch leaves. Dioicous (rarely autoicous). Setae short or long, smooth, lightly papillose, or scabrose. Capsules immersed or exserted, erect, symmetric, cylindric, short-cylindric, ovoid, or spherical; stomata absent; opercula conic-rostate; annuli rudimentary; peristome diplolepideous, exostome irregularly developed, weakly trabeculate, often with a well-developed prostome; endostome rudimentary or absent. Calyptra cu-cullate or mitrate, smooth or sparsely hairy.



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